About mrsscales207

My life has taken many paths. I grew up in Farmland, Indiana and graduated from Monroe Central High School in 1979. Yes I know that seems like a long time ago to most of you. After I graduated from High School, I went into the U. S. Navy. Not a lot of women enlisted in the Navy back then. Boot camp was still segregated (that means there were only women in my boot camp) and yes, boot camp is as bad as they say it is. I survived though and began seeing a little more of the world than just our lovely corn and soy bean fields of Indiana. I was an advanced avionics technician and worked on F14 Tomcat jets in the Navy. Back then women couldn't go on ships but I was stationed in Bermuda for a little over a year. Bermuda is beautiful and the people are warm and friendly. I married my husband while in the Navy and we eventually moved to Minnesota.

Active / Passive Voice

Today we did some basic grammar work to aid us with our essay edits.

In active voice sentences the subject does the action.

Example: Liz played the piano. •

The sentence that uses the active voice is stronger, uses fewer words, and clearly shows who performs the action.

In passive voice sentences the subject receives the action.

Example: The piano was played by Liz. –

The sentence that uses the passive voice is weaker and less direct. It is, however, not incorrect to use the passive voice. • Sometimes the doer of the action is omitted in passive voice sentences. Example: The piano was played.

Some students confused active and passive voice with the verb tense. A sentence could have a present, past, or future tense verb and still be active or passive. It is all about whether the subject is doing the action or the action is being done to the subject.

Thomas feeds his dog.  – This is an example of active voice and Thomas is the subject of the sentence. Thomas is doing the action (feeding).

The dog is fed by Thomas. – This is and example of passive voice and the subject is now dog. The dog is being fed so the subject is receiving the action.

Tomorrow is our Writing Conference Day where any student doing extra writing can have it reviewed with me for extra credit. 

What is It?

Today we continue with the editing stage of the writing process. I have copied the following blog post because we can’t always get to external links from our in school filter and I know you can all get my blog posts.

This is from the blog of Candace Johnson who is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be.

She has explained the problem with unidentified pronouns so well, that I am referring you to her blog for this subject.

What Is It? Avoid Undefined Pronouns to Strengthen Your Writing

“He worked hard to earn enough money to buy it.”

What is “it,” exactly? In the context of the sentence above, “it” is used as a pronoun, and illustrates a common (and avoidable) writer error:

Undefined pronouns

A quick grammar review: Pronouns are a useful part of speech that give writers greater flexibility in naming schemes. Instead of using and reusing a noun, the substitution of a pronoun allows for a type of shorthand. For example, instead of writing, “The moment John walk into the store, John realized John had forgotten John’s wallet at home” (pretty clunky, huh?), this sentence becomes, “The moment John walked into the store, he realized he had forgotten his wallet at home.”

Personal pronouns are fairly straightforward. Most of us use I, he, she, they, him, her, them, his, hers, and theirs properly . . . but “it” often present unique problems for writers.

The Problem with “It”

When I edit manuscripts, I usually see two different but related problems with the use of “it”:

  1. The pronoun “it” does not relate to the antecedent
  2. The pronoun “it” is part of vague sentence construction.

In plain English, the first problem is using a pronoun that is ambiguous or doesn’t refer to a specific noun. Example:

Although the pizza delivery van ran into the school bus, it was not damaged.

Does “it” represent the pizza delivery van or the school bus? We just can’t tell by the way this sentence is constructed. The pronoun doesn’t clearly relate to the antecedent.

Vague sentence construction and the indefinite use of “it” often calls for a sentence revision. Here’s an example of a problem sentence:

“Mary wondered if it was something about the energy of young people that animals pick up and want to be around.”

When “it” is combined with a form of the verb “to be,” take a closer look to see if there might be a better way to construct your sentence:

“Mary wondered if animals pick up on the energy of young people and want to be around it.”

In the above example, “it” stands in for “the energy of young people.”

“Mary wondered if the energy of young people was something animals pick up and want to be around.”

This example eliminates “it” completely.

When self-editing your work, remember to add “it” to your list of words and terms to search and possibly replace. You don’t need to avoid this pronoun, but use “it” wisely and properly.

If you have any great tips for avoiding the overuse of “it” in your writing. please share in the comments.

Happy Writing,


If you enjoyed reading this and want to improve your ability to self-edit and revise your work, please subscribe by entering your email address on the right side of this page. And please know that I’ll never sell, share, or rent your contact information—that’s a promise!

And if you want more great writing and publishing information, check out my Facebook page at Change It Up Editing and Writing Services, where I share all kinds of interesting articles and links.


As students, many of you also make this mistake by using the pronouns he, she, they, etc. in your writing, when you have not first identified who he, she, or they are. Your essays must be clear and you have to identify specifically who you are talking about prior to using any pronoun that might be unclear to the reader.

MLA Works Cited

Learning how to find the required information for your MLA citations can be tricky. Today we are looking at two of the sources I provided for you during this unit. Because I provided the sources for you, it would be almost impossible for you to know or even find this information on your own. So here we go, let’s work through this information together.

We read the book (novella) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. However, you did not receive a printed copy of the book. We worked with an online copy that came from the Project Gutenberg online database. Therefore our citation on the works cited page will look a little different. Anytime you cite a book with one author you will use the following combination of information.


References to an entire book should include the following elements:

  • author(s) or editor(s)
  • the complete title
  • edition, if indicated
  • place of publication
  • the shortened name of the publisher
  • date of publication
  • medium of publication

Basic Format

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.


Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg, 2002. Web. 


Book Chapters (especially those in the public domain) may be found in online databases. Information about the publisher of a book can often be found in the description of the chapter in the database. Author and publisher information may be omitted from your citation if it is not available.


Ovid. “The Transformation of Arachne into a Spider,” Metamorphoses. CommonLit, 2014. Web.


So today everyone should have added the Works Cited page to their essay file. We will continue with the editing (or correcting and fixing ) stage of the writing process this week. Each day you will have a different subject or skill to work on and by Friday your essay should be fully edited and ready to resubmit for the editing grade.




Today, we moved on to a little poetry analysis. We started by introducing an new graphic organizer to use when ever we are reading a new poem. It is called the TP-CASTT for Poetry Analysis.

This form can be used with any type of poem. Our poem today is a Sestina, so we covered the basic definition of the poetic form, Sestina.

Today was a practice or run through of how to use the TP-CASTT and look a cold-read of a poem. We covered the answers to each part of the TP-CASTT for “Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop in class today. Students were instructed to write their answers in the reading logs as they will be graded when the folders are collected on Friday.

Tomorrow, students will be given a different poem and ask to repeat the process for a different type of poem.

Day 2 Questions 1 – 7

Today we answered questions 1 – 7 concerning our cold read yesterday of the first chapter of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

The first six questions were reading comprehension questions over the text and included four of the Part A / Part B type questions we talked about yesterday. The last question was a writing prompt.

7. Write a narrative in which you describe the next scene that might take place in  “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Maintain the same point of view, mood/tone, and pacing of the original story. Be sure to observe the conventions of standard English. Your narrative should have an introduction, presentation and examination of the conflict, and a clear resolution.

We discussed the importance of understanding what the prompt is asking for. A narrative is a short story. Basically, students are being asked to write the next chapter of the story. We talked about what it means to maintain the point of view, mood / tone , and pacing.

Students who needed or wanted more time to do their very best work on the assignment worked during class today and took it home as a homework assignment.

Starting the 4th Grading Period

Can you believe it? Today is the first day of the final grading period for this school year. That means that we are 3/4 of the way finished with this school year.

We continued our unit on Magical Realism with our first Cold-Read Task. Today we read and annotated the first chapter of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Students were reminded that annotation is an active reading strategy that helps readers interact with the text as they are reading it. Annotation is a way to engage your mind in the activity of reading and thinking about what you are reading for better understanding. Along with noting and then looking up any unknown words, annotation includes identifying patterns, literary devices, ask questions, make predictions, or note anything else that may be significant in the text. Annotation is not simply underlining or highlighting test with no meaningful purpose.

The Day 2 handout was also provided in class today. The purpose of this is to give any student who thinks it may take extra time to complete the questions tomorrow in class a chance to work ahead as both Day 1 and Day 2 handouts will be collected for grading at the end of tomorrow’s class period.

It was explained that the questions are examples of the type of questions that are often asked on standardize testing. The questions have a part A and a part B.  Credit can only be earned on the part B portion of the question if the part A part of the question is answered correctly. The idea behind this type of test question is that the correct answer to part A should lead the student to being able to identify evidence or reasoning for the part B portion of the question. This tests the connection or reasoning of ideas and logic.

What a Great Job

We accomplished a great deal this week. We tackled a really complex writing prompt over a complex text and did it in a four day time period. We had the highest overall completion and turn in rate of any assignment yet this year, and the grades were strong too. What a way to end the third grading period. Everyone deserves a nice weekend break.

See you all next week.